I came across this ad today on the Drudge Report, and couldn’t help but click. I just couldn’t understand how wearing a cap could stop illegal aliens from crossing into the United States.
It seems that the hat offers right-wing nativist yahoos another way to support people working in dangerous jobs without actually taking any risks themselves, or even financially contributing to the cause. According to the Newsmax store where this ad links, making a purchase will allow a brave racist the opportunity to:
stand on the frontlines of America’s battle with illegal immigrants by wearing the US Border Patrol cap…Wear the cap everywhere . . . and if illegals start running when they see you . . . you’ll have the last laugh.
Unintentionally, of course, the fine people at Newsmax have stumbled on a perfect metaphor for what it means to be a conservative under the Bush administration. Claim you support the troops, even though you don’t support raising taxes to fight a war, claim you support the border patrol, but offer meaningless symbolic gestures, rather than the logistical and personnel support they need, claim you sympathize with the people impacted by Katrina by cutting one of the critical programs that is helping them.
Symbolic gestures are important. They motivate us, remind us, challenge us. But for this generation of conservatives, symbolism is substance. Waving an American flag doesn’t make one a patriot, making sacrifices does.
Update. I hadn’t even read this yet. They really do think they’re doing something, don’t they?